Let there continue to be music in Santa Barbara's elementary schools.

Courtesy Santa Barbara School District

Let there continue to be music in Santa Barbara's elementary schools.

Parcel Taxes for Arts and Sciences

Measures W and X Replace Measures H and I, Which Have Done Great Things

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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The best way to you can support our community and our schools is by voting yes for Measures W and X in this election. You probably know that schools in California are losing dramatic amounts of funding due to the state’s fiscal crisis. In fact, the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) has lost over $20 million just in the past four years! This has resulted in cuts to programs, staffing, and opportunities in our schools that directly impact our kids.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation is once again leading the campaign to support two parcel tax measures (W and X) on the ballot in June, for the elementary and secondary schools in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Measures W and X will pick up where Measures H and I (2008) leave off when they sunset next year. Thanks to the voters, the funds raised by Measures H and I have allowed the SBUSD to continue providing strong arts, music, foreign language, theater, science, and math programs as well as keeping class sizes smaller in some 9th grade courses. Through W and X we would be able to maintain and enhance these programs, as well as add more trade programs in the high schools (Measure W).

Lynn Rodriguez
Click to enlarge photo

Lynn Rodriguez

If you live outside the City of Santa Barbara you only vote for Measure W; if you live in the city you vote for both W and X. Combined, these measures will generate $16 million in funds for our schools. This is a very small investment in our schools, our students – and in our community, which thrives when we have well-educated kids and diverse academic and elective programs. If you have come to a spring performance at one of our high schools, you know that the arts electives are paying off – in in our students’ talent, discipline, cooperation, and joy!

Please vote yes on Measures W (and X if you live in the City of Santa Barbara) – these measures each need a two-thirds majority of votes in order to win. If these measures lose, we also lose the support our schools have been receiving from Measures H and I, which expire in June of 2013.

Funds raised by these measures cannot be taken away by Sacramento. They provide us with a stable source of local revenue for programs that could no longer exist given the dire state of education funding in California right now. Our students are counting us to support these measures, and it’s the best investment we can make in the future.

Lynn Rodriguez is president of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and co-chair of the Yes on W and X Committee.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Arts are the most neglected areas of education, yet the most exploited and enjoyed by society.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"wolverine" I believe you have your facts upside down; historically ownership/renters in Santa Barbara runs about 60/40, with the majority of dwellings owner-occupied.

Do you have some updated statistics to the contrary?

The rest of your comment is just plain crabby and mean-spirited; you obviously haven't seen the theatrical offerings in our local high schools, nor true display of talent within choir, band, and drum corps.

binky (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hurrah for these parcel taxes, we need MORE for public ed. Wolverine, you are crabby... your comment "Talk about poor return on investment" means you see EDUCATING CHILDREN as an "investment" ... too bad.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well as a parent, uncle and godfather I have seen much more than my share of both inspiring AND "strangled" children's performances over the years I'd like to offer that ultimately the kid's talent and the public's entertainment aren't really the point of these programs or the "investment". There is a pretty big pile of evidence that arts and music training helps many children to be better thinkers, innovators, problem solvers and overall academic achievers. If some kids strangled trumpet performances stimulates them in other aspects of their education and "maybe" the achievements of the adults they'll become then it's worth my $54/year.

fussbudget (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)


DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am voting YES on these and I am a property owner.
I look at this as a short term fix for a long term problem.
We still need to establish performance based raises and firing of teachers and we need to secure property tax funding of our schools without the ability to divert money to other entities.
I would love to see the school board take up these issues. It wil be harder and harder to get voters to vote for school taxes without funding and union reform.

loneranger (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2012 at 10:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good idea, let's transfer responsibility for raising our children to the state. It's for the best, considering most parents are self-centered and incompetent. However, in addition to drama and dance, I suggest we take this chance to include F. A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom in the curriculum, so at least there might be hope for the next generation.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2012 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How is nurturing young artists the road to serfdom ?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2012 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm a homeowner of limited and practically fixed means, and I'll be voting "Yes!" on Measures W & X. I don't have kids, but am proud to support our public school programs and all kids, who are our collective future. I benefited from the public schools when I was a kid, and now am happy to give back in kind.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2012 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks Ken. You are always representing a reasonable point of view. Nurturing art and science in the youth is a wonderful thing to do. I personally have donated thousands of dollars to local schools to support this.
The mistake, and the road to serfdom, is to rely on the parcel tax system to do this. More than half of the monies raised will go to increasing government bureaucracy and reinforcing a mechanism to forcibly extract the funds with the ultimate threat of property seizure and imprisonment.
Further empowering a corrupt and dysfunctional government body is a mistake, and is the road to serfdom.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 9:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wolverine is absolutely right about the polarization of the classes, however it is happening nationally, not just in SB.
The federal government is increasing it's participation in the mortgage industry through the FHA as well as transferring foreclosed homes to Wall Street private equity firms to make corporate landlords. Property ownership will become a luxury of the rich.

I used to be a business owner, but now I am a government employee. I have learned to curtail my instinct to be productive and to spend my time watching the clock. It's nice not having any accountability. I can spend days doing nothing and the paychecks keep coming.
Next I think I'll look into getting food stamps and section 8 housing. Hell, if you can't beat em, join em.

Go ahead, tax the middle class to death, see if I care.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Binky according to this 58% of people in Santa Barbara are renters.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm strongly in favor of supporting arts and music, and have no problem rolling up my sleeves and paying taxes to do so, but I wonder how much of the money actually gets to where it's supposed to go?

I have a bad taste in my mouth from decades of hearing about how "this measure will go a long way in helping"..but then as soon as the measure passes, the schools are asking for even more money. Where does all the money go? What about the panacea of the California Lottery that was supposed to help the schools?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 4:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I can't argue with your facts, wolverine (and billclausen); you did say "city."

I stand corrected as to the majority of city residents are renters.

The stats I relied on were for the County (as one of the measures, and the School districts themselves, do run outside the city limits), where the figures shift into a more typical mix of owners to renters:

-- County owner-occupied houses and condos: 76,579
-- Renter-occupied apartments: 60,043

Percentage of renters:
-- Santa Barbara county: 44%
-- California: 46%

binky (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 5:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course I am joking about doing nothing, really everyone is doing a great job in general. But in support of billclausen, overhead is more than 50% in the public sector. It's very inefficient.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 5:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Many private sector companies would killl to have a 50% overhead rate!

The overhead rate at some of the large tech firms I've worked at have been in the 100% to 200% range. In the tech boom years of the late 90's the upper range wasn't uncommon but companies have learned to pare back a bit since then.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 9:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ever since Prop 13 passed and the State had to get involved in education funding, it's been a mess. Hence the need for local funding mechanisms like Props W & X. Jerry Roberts has some good columns in the archives about that.

Music education for our kids is a great investment. Studies show that learning music teaches kids concepts needed to do well in science, engineering, and mathematics. Plus it's fun and helps kids build self-confidence.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 9:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

W and X are replacing the expiring H and I, and require citizen oversight committees. These are links to the required annual reports that explain to taxpayers where the money has been going:

Pimms (anonymous profile)
May 22, 2012 at 6:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wolverine I agree when you state you're "extremely opposed to the ongoing class segregation by the City in its increasing conversion of properties, especially on the Westside (south of Mission) and Lower Eastside, from single family, owner-occupied, to high density, multi-family units" ... yet, a sales tax (Mayor Schneider has proposed this) is inherently unfair and regressive: someone making millions pays the same rate as a poverty-level person. The entire structure of public ed financing in Calif. needs reform.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2012 at 6:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"sales tax (Mayor Schneider has proposed this) is inherently unfair and regressive: someone making millions pays the same rate as a poverty-level person. "

Don't they still have luxury taxes? ( You can tell how luxurious I am by having to ask!) Doesn't it or can't even out that way. We all need a loaf of bread, with or without gluten. But no one needs a diamond necklace.... (except maybe as a prop.)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2012 at 9:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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